The scientist who unlocked the ribosome riddle

Ramakrishnan makes a billion Indians proud


Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

Fifty-seven-year-old Ramakrishnan, born in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, is the seventh Indian or of Indian origin to win the prestigious award.
Born in 1952, Ramakrishnan earned his BSc in Physics (1971) from Baroda University in Gujarat and later migrated to the US to continue his studies where he later got settled and attained US citizenship.
He earned his PhD in Physics from Ohio University in the US and later worked as a graduate student at the University of California from 1976-78. During his stint at the varsity, Ramakrishnan conducted a research with Dr Mauricio Montal, a membrane biochemist and later designed his own 2-year transition from physics to biology.
Ramakrishnan is now a senior scientist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge.
In the August 26, 2000 issue of ‘Nature’, Ramakrishnan and his co-workers published the structure of the small ribosomal subunit of Thermus thermophilus, a heat-stable bacterium related to one found in the Yellowstone hot springs.
With this 5.5 Angstrom-resolution structure, Ramakrishnan’s group identified key portions of the RNA and, using previously determined structures, positioned seven of the subunit’s proteins.

President hails Nobel Laureate

President Pratibha Patil on Wednesday congratulated Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, the Indian-born scientist who has shared this year’s Nobel Prize for Chemistry with two other  researchers, reports IANS from New Delhi.

The president hopes that the work will one day help in bringing better cure for those who suffer from incurable bacterial infections, it said.

Ward’s success thrills teacher

“I am extremely happy to hear that my student Venkatraman Ramakrishnan has won the Nobel prize for Chemistry’, Prof M S Govindarajan, who taught him Physics at pre-university level at Annamalai University in Chidambaram where he was born, said on Wednesday, reports PTI from Chennai.

“He (Venkataraman) was one of the few top among the 300 students”, he said.

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